Otoplasty (Ear Pinning Surgery) – What You Should Know

What You Should Know About Ear Pinning

ear surgery If you’re tired of wearing your hair down, hiding your ears under a hat when it’s not winter, or avoiding ponytails in the summer, you may benefit from otoplasty (ear pinning surgery). The adjustment of the angle your ears sit at naturally can be oriented for a more aesthetically pleasing look. Because of their proximity to your face, often a slight correction can make a world of difference to your overall self-image. Protruding ears can be the result of a deformity, or heredity—a physical trait passed down from generation to generation. A person’s ears might protrude abnormally from the head, or one ear might be higher or lower than the other. In some cases, they might have an unusual shape or irregularity. With young children in particular, and through adulthood too, less than ideal ears can be a source of embarrassment, teasing, and even deep-seated insecurity about themselves. The decision to undergo otoplasty can seem drastic, but it is a safe procedure that can greatly improve the shape, position, and even proportion of the ears. Otoplasty can also make one feel better about themselves and look better too.

What Kind Of Procedures Are Involved With Ear Pinning?

Part of the procedure with ear pinning involves setting the ears back and closer to the head due to the fact that they’re projecting from the head farther than the patient is comfortable with. Sometimes it’s just one ear that sticks out, but in most cases, both ears have similar traits. The procedure to reshape or “pin” the ears closer to the head, does not mean that the ears are physically “pinned.” During the ear pinning surgery, the cartilage of the ear is reshaped and pulled in closer to the head by the surgeon. While the incisions of the newly shaped ears are healing, they’re held in place in their new position closer to the head by sutures. When the incisions are made, they’re typically made at the back of the ear (usually within the folds) so that any scarring is practically invisible to the eye. The full otoplasty procedure generally takes less than two hours, and can be performed with local anesthesia or full sedation. It’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor which option is best for you.

How Will Recovery Be After the Procedure?

As with any surgical procedure, there is naturally some recovery time to be expected, but in the case of ear pinning surgery, recovery time is minimal. You’ll even start seeing the differences almost immediately. As a precaution, and as is customary with many outpatient surgeries, you should have someone drive you home after the surgery for your safety. While there may be some initial pain and discomfort immediately following your ear pinning, the symptoms can typically be treated with pain medication. That said, remember to discuss any concerns or risks with your doctor as each case is different. Once your ears have healed, there’s very little scarring left behind, and the results look natural!

What Are The Benefits Of Ear Pinning Surgeries?

There are a lot of benefits that can be gained from having ear surgery to correct an existing condition, but chief among them is that the procedure is safe with very little risk. A variety of ear imperfections can and have been corrected by otoplasty, and along with it, many emotional and psychological issues that were affecting people’s sense of well being and self-esteem. For children who might have endured constant teasing by other children, otoplasty can result in a more positive self-image, something that will help them grow up confident and self-assured.

Are There Different Types Of Ear Surgeries?

Yes there are. One is Traditional Otoplasty, which we’ve discussed. Traditional Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is the procedure where large or protruding ears can be “pinned” back towards the head to create a more natural and beautiful look. Reconstructive Otoplasty is surgery that can help improve the look of severe ear defects that may have resulted from birth or accidental trauma. Here are some of the ear defects that reconstructive otoplasty can help correct:
  • Cagot Ear: this is a defect in which a patient has no earlobe.
  • Cat’s Ear: like a cat’s ear, this is an abnormality in which the edges of the ear have a forward-folded appearance.
  • Lop Ear: a severely inward curving ear that has the look of a cup.
  • Scroll Ear: forward curled ears that have the appearance of a rolled up scroll.
  • Wildermuth’s Ear: this is a curvature of the top curve of the ear towards the scalp.
  • Stahl’s Ear Deformity: the ear has a pointed edge, much like an elf’s ear, due to an abnormal folding of it.
  • Cleft Earlobe: a case where the earlobe has indentation in it.
  • Question Mark Ear or Cosman Ear: a separation of the ear in the skull between the outer curvature of the ear and the earlobe that looks similar to a question mark.
  • Microtia: due to a defect in the development of the ears, they look abnormally small.
  • Macrotia: the opposite of microtia, this is a situation where the ears are excessively large.
  • Constricted Ear: an ear which develops with some absence of skin and cartilage on the outer back portion of it.
  • Cryptopia: the upper curved portion of the ear has become embedded in the scalp of the patient.

Other Traumas Requiring Ear Otoplasty

  • Cauliflower Ear: boxers or people engaged in some of martial arts can acquire this condition from enduring repeated injuries to the ear. In this case, fluid fills cartilage that’s been separated from perichondrium. The result is an ear that becomes permanently cartilaginous and deformed.
  • Skin Cancer and Malignant Melanoma: if skin cancer appears in the ears, otoplasty can be effective at removing cancerous tissue and then reconstructing the remaining tissue surrounding it.


If you’re coping with abnormalities that have impacted the appearance of your ears, there are numerous benefits that can be realized by the right otoplasty procedure. Through effective ear surgery, you can regain the look of a correctly proportioned face, restore the natural look of ear folds, and gain a renewed sense of well-being and self-esteem. If you have more questions about what otoplasty can do for you or someone in your family, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Kevin Tehrani, who will help you to fully understand your options and ensure that you know the process, procedure, and outcomes from your surgery. Dr. Tehrani is one of the most respected plastic surgeons in New York and will work with you step-by-step to ensure your total comfort with the process and your decision. Contact our office today and take the first step to looking better and feeling better about your appearance!